Associate Director for Evaluation Partnerships
Policy Analysis and Management

35 Thornwood Drive, Suite 200, Room 150-C



Dr. Hargraves’ early career was in Economics. She received a B.A. in Economics with high honor from Princeton University. She went on to work as an Assistant Economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, focusing on topics in monetary policy and money and banking. She pursued graduate studies at the University of Rochester, received a PhD in Economics in 1988, and joined the faculty of Brown University as an Assistant Professor. In 1992 she accepted a two-year position in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the IMF her work focused on the financial and macroeconomic crisis in Japan, monetary policy and financial intermediation in the U.S. and monetary transmission in Switzerland. She contributed to and coordinated portions of the IMF's semi-annual World Economic Outlook.

An increasing interest in applied, community-based work prompted a change in her professional path. She joined the staff of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Tompkins County, NY in 1998 and took on a number of different roles over the course of ten years at CCETC including program management, volunteer development, database design, strategic planning, evaluation, and organizational development. In 2008 she left CCETC for Cornell University, to join the applied research team at the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE). She is now the Associate Director for Evaluation Partnerships at CORE.

Dr. Hargraves is actively engaged in research on and application of CORE’s relational, systems approach to evaluation, originating in the Systems Evaluation Protocol developed by CORE with research funding from the National Science Foundation. Her particular focus has been on evolutionary evaluation and evaluation capacity-building through evaluation partnerships between program staff and evaluation specialists. Recent projects include the USDA-funded collaborative action research project Food Dignity which involved deep partnerships with five community-based organizations across the U.S. working to strengthen local food systems and social justice. The work and learning from this five-year project culminated in, among other outcomes, a special issue in July 2018 of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Hargraves is currently engaged in multiple collaborative projects with colleagues at Montclair State University to evaluate programs and build evaluation capacity among program and evaluation professionals working in the area of youth character development (funded by the John Templeton Foundation); and a collaboration with the Ministry Leadership Center with support from the Hilton Foundation that is using the Systems Evaluation Protocol and a partnership approach to explore evaluation of initiatives aimed at infusing and sustaining mission-driven values throughout a large Catholic health care system.

In all these contexts she is deeply interested in how the tools of systems evaluation, foundational principles of evolutionary evaluation, and a relational approach to evaluation can be applied to recognize and illuminate diverse sources of expertise, elevate community and practitioner voice in program design and evaluation, and create unique bridges between the expertise of on-the-ground practitioners and leaders and those supporting or researching this work.

As part of the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) team, Dr. Hargraves has been actively involved in research building on CORE’s NSF-funded projects to develop, test, apply, and disseminate CORE's systems approach to evaluation, specifically the Systems Evaluation Protocol (SEP) and the Netway cyber-infrastructure that supports it. She is engaged in research and writing on evolutionary evaluation, evaluative thinking, and evaluation capacity-building.

An extensive recent application of evolutionary evaluation, evaluative thinking, and the Systems Evaluation Protocol is in the PACE Project (Partnerships for Advancing Character program Evaluation), done in collaboration with colleagues at the RYTE Institute (Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation) at Montclair State University. The overarching goal of this three-year project has been to increase the extent and quality of evaluation in the field of youth character virtue development. The PACE design involves training program staff and evaluation professionals together in an innovative partnership approach, building evaluation capacity on both sides. Hargraves serves as the Cornell PI and co-lead facilitator of the PACE trainings. The research has developed measurement tools, explored and collected evidence for the relationship between project activities and participants’ evaluation capacity, and is assessing the potential for wider implementation of this unique capacity-building approach. In addition to the broader research questions, Hargraves is focusing on analysis and writing relating to the role and nature of capacity-building partnerships, and the “stickiness” and resonance for participants of PACE concepts and tools. The PACE research team is currently preparing manuscripts for publication.

Hargraves’ role in the Food Dignity project (a USDA/AFRI-funded action research project on sustainable community food systems) was originally focused on evaluating the community partner mini-grant programs but was expanded to a shared leadership role in the overall project and research team. Food Dignity has been an action research collaboration between Cornell University, the University of Wyoming, and five community partner organizations around the country. Hargraves’ particular contribution to the Food Dignity research has been the development, with a colleague and in collaboration with community partners, of a unique approach for surfacing and articulating practitioner theories of change. Termed “collaborative pathway modeling,” this innovative cross-project initiative proved to be a key element of community-university collaboration in Food Dignity. In addition, the resulting models provided unique community-driven data and analytical structures for understanding strategies and context-specific aspects of the community partner projects. Hargraves served as co-editor of a special volume of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (July 2018) devoted to the Food Dignity project and is author of several papers within that volume.

Hargraves’ new and emerging projects continue to explore the application and impact of the relational, systems approach to evaluation that has developed and been refined with colleagues over the course of her work at CORE and in the above collaborations. Some of these projects extend the PACE work in the arena of youth character development to new contexts, such as K-12 education and parenting programs. A novel collaboration launched in 2018 with the Ministry Leadership Center is applying CORE’s evaluation approach and tools to a large Catholic Health Care system, bringing an innovative way to learn about and evaluate initiatives to infuse and sustain culture and values in large organizational systems.

Hargraves, M., & Denning, C. (2018). Visualizing Expertise: Collaborative Pathway Modeling as a Methodology for Conveying Community-driven Strategies for Change. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 101-115.

Hargraves, M. (2018). Learning from Community-Designed Minigrant Programs in the Food Dignity Project. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 117-146.

Porter, C., Woodsum, G., & Hargraves, M. (2018). Introduction—and Invitation—to the Food Dignity Special Issue. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 1-4.

Hargraves, M., Porter, C., & Woodsum, G. (2018). Leading Food Dignity. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 27-31.

Hargraves, M. (2018). Introduction to the Food Dignity Values Statement. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development8(A), 33-35.

Trochim, W., Urban, J. B., Hargraves, M., Hebbard, C., Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Johnson, M., & Burgermaster, M. (2016). The Guide to the Systems Evaluation Protocol (V 3.1). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Digital Print Services.

Hargraves, M. & Buckley, J., Eds. (2015). Workbook for the Systems Evaluation Protocol. Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation, Ithaca, NY: Cornell Digital Print Services.

Buckley, J., Archibald, T., Hargraves, M., & Trochim, W.M. (2015). Defining and Teaching Evaluative Thinking: Insights from Research on Critical Thinking. American Journal of Evaluation, 36(3) 357-388. 

Urban, J.B., Hargraves, M., & Trochim, W.M. (2014). Evolutionary evaluation: Implications for evaluators, researchers, practitioners, funders and the evidence-based program mandate. Evaluation and Program Planning, 45, 127-139


Member, American Evaluation Association.

Hargraves continues to collaborate by invitation with Cornell Cooperative Extension's Organizational Development and Accountability team to support staff professional development in the areas of program development and evaluation, and responds to requests for evaluation consultations from Extension staff. She has developed and helps to maintain extensive evaluation training resources housed on-line in CORE's Netway software system, which is now available to any interested user.

In addition to larger formal initiatives described below, Hargraves provides evaluation consultations and support on an occasional basis to a variety of local community organizations and projects. Particular recent efforts include facilitating a series of evaluation workshops for the Rust to Green campus-community collaborative community development initiatives in Utica and Binghamton, NY.

Hargraves’ collaborative, participatory research projects and the partnership approach she uses throughout her work have built relationships with and contributed to program development and evaluation in an array of community-based initiatives across the U.S. and occasionally internationally. In the PACE project and a newer collaboration with the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, these have included diverse programs for youth character development, and for parents to foster character development in their children.

Hargraves' work in the Food Dignity project built relationships with and supported the work of five community partner organizations working on sustainable and just community food systems in diverse settings and communities across the U.S. These collaborations, including the development of the values-driven Collaborative Pathway Modeling strategy, continue to inform our understanding of the nature of and obstacles to deeply collaborative partnerships between academic researchers and community leaders and activists.

Ph.D. Economics, University of Rochester 1988
B.A. Magna cum Laude, Economics, Princeton University 1981

The website for the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation ( provides a range of general resources and links useful for evaluation work in general, and situates the Evaluation Partnership work within the larger body of research on a systems approach to evaluation that CORE is engaged in.  CORE staff members' annual presentations at the American Evaluation Association meetings, along with other research presentations are linked here. 

The website for the USDA-funded Food Dignity project ( provides background on and motivation for the 5-year project, information about the research components, and presents the work of the five community partner organizations working on sustainable local food system initiatives in Brooklyn NY, Tompkins County NY, Laramie WY, Wind River Reservation WY, and Oakland CA. 

The website for the PACE Project (Partnerships for Advancing Character Program Evaluation: ) describes the innovative approach to evaluation capacity building embedded in the project design. This 3-year project was funded by the John Templeton Foundation, with the goal of strengthening evaluation of youth character development programs around the country by building capacity in both program staff and evaluation professionals interested in youth character programs.

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